India May Allow Duty-Free Imports of Raw Sugar

by Dave Asia

India, the world’s biggest consumer of sugar, may allow mills to import the raw sweetener duty free in two weeks to ease a local shortage and prevent an increase in domestic prices before elections next year.

The government plans to allow refiners to buy sugar from overseas for processing and sale in the local market without paying a 60 percent duty, said an industry association official, who didn’t want to be identified as the proposal has yet to be approved by the cabinet. The mills will need to export the same quantity within two years, he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is seeking re-election, wants to curb the cost of commodities including food grains, sugar and edible oil.  Increased imports by the south Asian nation may boost global sugar prices that have fallen 14 percent in six months.

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